The Q&A: Noel Franklin

By Peggy Roalf   Monday March 20, 2017

Q: Originally from Mishawaka, Indiana what are some of your favorite things about living and working in Washington State?

A: Seattle has had a strong comics community since the 1990s and comics here are experiencing a massive resurgence.  I am surrounded by diverse creators and have been able to secure grants for my sequential art.

Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A:I do not keep a sketchbook.  And I create almost exclusively in pen and ink, using the computer to create comics layouts, and then to produce high resolution scans of my hand-drawn originals. It's old fashioned, but I enjoy the act of interacting with physical media.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio? 

A:My light table.


Q: How do you know when the art is finished? 

A: When I am satisfied with how the eye moves across the page. I work mostly in black and white comics, and the continuity of the story relies on moving the viewer's eye from moment to moment in proper sequence and in a pleasing way.

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A:As a primarily autobiographical cartoonist, I spend a great deal of my time mining my memories. But I'd say what I've done for work—day job work, outside of my artistic endeavors—has had the most profound effect on my art. Even my job as an arc welder, which I did during summers to get through college, directly informed the way I draw lines and build images.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child? 

A:Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss.  It probably heavily influenced my attempts to save the world through nonprofit work and probably influences my art in ways I haven't analyzed yet.

Q:What is the best book you’ve recently read? 

A:Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart.  It's a graphic novel that explores the loss of his young daughter in beautiful, heartbreaking panels. I am attempting a story about loss and I love that he doesn't tie everything up into neat little bows or Hallmark card endings. He leaves grief as the open-ended question I have known it to be.

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A:I would continue using what I work in now—black Micron .005 pens on Bristol.


Q: If you could spend an entire day away from work and deadlines, what would you do and where?

A:If I had the money I would go someplace warm and observe nature. I would love to do the Whale Shark tour of of Isla Mujeres in Mexico.

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art?

A:There is a scene in Blade Runner that is the first time I realized images were literally built out of light.  Deckard takes a shot of whiskey and some blood from his cut lip swirls into the glass. I was about 8 years old and I realized they had to have back-lit that in some way to make it work, it fascinated me. Couple that with my first viewing of Goya's The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters and it pretty much covers how I approach the visual arts.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Seafood from around the world. Cedar smoked salmon, shellfish, Cioppino and sushi with and a slice of dark chocolate mousse cake for dessert.


In early 2013, Noel Franklin retooled her degree in printmaking from Western Washington University and her modest success in literary arts towards making fine comics. Since then, she's self-published four minicomics and has had comics short stories accepted for publication in over a dozen publications includingThe Strumpet, Blood Root, Seattle Weekly and Not My Small Diary. In 2016, she was awarded grants from 4Culture, the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and Artist Trust in support of her first graphic novel,Girl On The Road. Noel attributes her unique drawing stylebuilding dark and light shapes from densely knotted linesto her experience with stone lithography.


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